June 24, 2024

FRONT ROYAL – Last July, Royal Examiner reported that the Front Royal Police confirmed they were investigating a reported break-in at the Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) building at 400-D Kendrick Lane.

At that time, according to FRPD Captain Jason Ryman, officers were called to the office on May 18, 2017 after receiving a call from an employee reporting  that a break-in had occurred. Investigators Landin Waller and Zach King were assigned to the case. No further information could be released, according to Ryman, as the investigation was active.

Jennifer McDonald, EDA executive director, did share more information with Royal Examiner during a June 5, 2017 interview about the events that she said happened in the reported break-in.

She shared details, including photographs that depicted acts of vandalism she says were directed towards her personally.   McDonald also said that some personal items and files were missing from the office, which investigators confirmed McDonald reported to them as well.

Royal Examiner agreed to McDonald’s request not to describe the nature of the vandalism that occurred, fearing that it might be disturbing to family members to read about details.

No other offices at the Kendrick Lane campus experienced break-ins or disturbances of any kind,  police confirmed following the reported break-in.

The case was turned over to Virginia State Police in March, 2018, and is being investigated by Special Agent E.D. Deel.

A criminal complaint by  Deel states that the events leading up to a warrant being issued for McDonald began during the FRPD investigation of the  reported May 18, 2017 break-in at the EDA’s Kendrick Lane office. During that investigation, the complaint states that an “interview was conducted” by Front Royal police on June 16, but it does not name the individual who was interviewed.

The complaint indicates McDonald revealed information to the unnamed individual between 3-4 p.m. on June 15 about an incident at her 158 Faith Way home. She described the incident as a stone being thrown into her front door and a note being left behind that included phone numbers.
The complaint states that the information was important because McDonald, at approximately 9:02 p.m., called the Warren County 911 Center on June 15, about five hours after she described the event to the unknown person.

During the 911 call, the complaint states that McDonald said “a loud noise happened” while she was in the basement. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and found that a large landscape stone was thrown into her front door. A note was also discovered in the yard with information “consistent with the statements” she made hours before the 911 call.

Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron confirmed Tuesday,  June 19 that his office turned over its investigation to state police in March, 2018.

EDA chairman Greg Drescher said in a Friday afternoon interview that he was “very surprised” by the news and that “as a board, we will take it seriously and are now waiting for more information.”  Drescher  said that he talked to McDonald Thursday morning, and she told him that the accusation is untrue.

Ms. McDonald was arrested and charged with knowingly giving a false report to a law enforcement official with the intent to mislead, a Class 1 misdemeanor, on June 13.  She has a court appearance scheduled for June 27 at 11:00 a.m. in Warren County General District Court.

That charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and/or  a fine of not more than $2,500.

Continue reading Royal Examiner, the News Behind the News for the latest on this and other local stories.

About The Author